After rolling out six all-electric EQ products in roughly two years, one would think that maybe the fine folks at Mercedes-Benz deserve a bit of a break. But rather than slow down, the German brand (figuratively) sped up, launching AMG-badged versions of the EQS and EQE sedans. Now, it’s Maybach’s turn, as Mercedes applies its ultra-luxury sub-brand’s unique focus to the EQS SUV.
The 2024 Mercedes-Maybach EQS680 SUV is a deeply opulent re-think of the standard EQS SUV that takes no small amount of inspiration from the last high-riding Maybach, the $170,000 GLS600. In some ways, though, it feels rather formulaic. Like that vehicle, Mercedes leaves the wheelbase well enough alone – it remains at 126.4 inches on a body that spans 201.7 inches from nose to tail.
Like all recent Maybach models, two-tone paint is available with a hand-drawn pinstripe. The Mercedes three-pointed star takes its rightful place on the hood, while a waterfall grille sits below the first of many (many) Maybach word marks. Tiny Maybach logos adorn the non-functional lower intakes, aping the Louis Vuitton pattern, and they appear again in the animated puddle lamps. The two wheel designs – 21s are standard, while 22s are optional – modify Mercedes’ traditional monoblock design and look glorious. Surprisingly, 23-inch wheels aren’t available, because the EQS’ wheel arches are too small.
The overall design of the EQS is unchanged (despite what the concept promised) but the detailing is what the Maybach badge stands for. Nowhere is that clearer than in the cabin, where Mercedes ditched the optional third row and added a fixed bulkhead behind two throne-like rear seats.
Endlessly adjustable and boasting a calf massager and heated shoulders (in addition to the usual array of heating, ventilation, and massaging, natch) the right rear seat also includes a pop-out ottoman. A fixed center console divides the two seats, but opt for the First-Class Rear (snigger), and the console is larger, connecting to the front center console in a floating bridge design.
While it presents an impressive visual statement, including a puddle lamp that projects the Maybach logo onto the carpet, the console also adds heated cupholders, four USB-C ports, two HDMI ports, and a housing for a tablet. And naturally, silver-plated champagne flutes and a removable refrigerator are available. Sadly, Mercedes did not have a bottle of Veuve Clicquot for us to test the drinkware. Two 11.6-inch displays, meanwhile, sit on the front seatbacks and allow access to the MBUX infotainment suite.
Speaking of MBUX, front-seat passengers will have access to the standard Hyperscreen, which now includes Maybach-specific skins. Those digital details mingle neatly with material changes for the flagship EQS – Nappa leather is standard and, in a nod to sustainability, was tanned using recycled and plant-based materials (such as coffee beans). The process is better for the environment and according to Mercedes, it saves about 100 pounds of salt per vehicle compared to conventional leather.
There are two Manufaktur wood options – brown birch and brown walnut – as well as a lacqured piano black that you can choose if you have no taste. The woods are warm and beautiful and match perfectly with the rich leather. Detailing overall in the cabin is stunning, with real metal accents and more Maybach logos than you can shake a stick at. Seriously, I counted over 30 inside and out.
The Maybach treatment extends beyond material and styling changes and in the EQS, that means more power from the twin electric motors. Total output is up to 649 horsepower and 700 pound-feet of torque (compared to the EQS580’s 536 hp and 633 lb-ft), which is enough to scoot this road-going yacht to 60 in a relatively leisurely 4.1 seconds. Mercedes-EQ fans will note that the power figure is identical to the AMG EQS sedan’s standard output. The 200-kilowatt DC charge peak matches the standard EQS, meanwhile, while the overall range is 372 miles (WLTP).
More important to the Maybach EQS’ passengers, of course, will be the modified air suspension, which benefits from a dedicated Maybach driving mode. Replacing the Comfort setting, Maybach mode focuses on improving ride quality “entirely” for the rear passengers, according to Mercedes. That includes limiting body movements and their impact on the rear chairs and adjusting an “oscillation node” to reduce the amplitude of any impacts.
Mercedes isn’t sharing pricing on the Maybach EQS, which will be built alongside the standard model at the automaker’s Tuscaloosa, Alabama, factory, but considering the GLS600 starts at $170,000 and there’s a $20,000-to-$25,000 price difference between equivalent GLS and EQS SUV models, a starting price near $200,000 seems reasonable here. North American sales should begin in late 2023 or early 2024.